Ignite is one of Orange County hardcore punk’s pride and joy. They have been blasting our ears with socially- and politically-aware lyrics with a melodic punk sound since ’93. Ignite has a huge and loyal following, and always sells out any venue they play here in the SoCal area. They have also toured the world sharing their music with the masses.
With hits like “Veteran” – about war vets coming back home only to be forgotten about and treated poorly by the same people they fought for; “Bleeding” – about heartbreak after the death of a loved one from a possible DUI; and “Nothing Can Stop Me” – about having the tenacity to live life during the hard times because they are temporary and we can get through it, together), they prove themselves to be accomplished artists in every way. The songs are inspiring, informational, and still catchy so you can sing or mosh to them.
At the beginning of 2020, there was a slight lineup change which left Ignite looking for a new lead singer. When a band has been around for 28 years, they are bound to go through some lineup changes. Most people don’t work at the same company for 28 years, so why would we expect bands to be any different?
Ignite has found a new front-man and we were able to speak with bassist Brett Rasmussen for Rachael-O-Rama #30. Here’s what he told us about the process: “When Eli said he wanted to try out, we sent him an instrumental of one of our songs so we could get an idea of what he sounded like because we needed someone that would do the back catalogue justice as well as be able to write new stuff. When he sent us the song back, we were very excited! We were like, ‘Oh wow, he’s hitting all of the notes, but yet he has his own distinct flavor.’ Once we heard his demo, we got into a rehearsal room as soon as possible to see if that’s what he sounded like live and it did, so we started recording songs basically the next day!”
Since previous Ignite singer Zoli Teglas had a short stint as singer in the punk band Pennywise, people thought maybe Jim Lindburg (previous and current Pennywise front-man) would flip the tables on them and front for Ignite. On September 17th, the news finally hit of their new EP release and only a photo of the new line up was posted, but no mention of the new singer’s name, people thought it looked like Efrem Schulz from Death by Stereo and Voodoo Glow Skulls, but it is not. It is actually Eli Santana.
You may know Santana as the guitarist from the metal band’s Holy Grail and Incite, or from some of his acting gigs like HBO’s “West World.” Really, check out his IMDB. Well, Ignite fans, you will be pleasantly surprised to hear just how awesome of a singer Santana is. The title track off their new EP, “Anti-Complicity Anthem,” is already getting radio airplay and has almost 60,000 hits on Spotify alone in just under a week.
Rasmussen was right; Santana sounds amazing and with his own flavor. If you’re an Ignite fan, you will be blown away at the similarities in their voices and feel confident that Rasmussen and the boys made a great choice with Santana. Santana will also have a helping hand in writing the lyrics with Nik Hill and Rasmussen, just as Zoli had and the messages will still have the same vibe as in previous songs. Sounds like they could not have made a better choice!
Ignite is also working on an album! Their newly released two-track EP, “Anti-Complicity Anthem” will have its title song on the new album. Rasmussen couldn’t tell us much, but he did mention, “We will be posting the release date of our new album in the next month or so. ‘Anti-Complicity Anthem’ will be the first song on the new album. ‘Turn XXI’ (the second song on their new EP) is an old Ignite song from ’93 that we wanted to bring back to life and re-introduce to the fans. This is the first time it’s available digitally.”
Rasmussen went on to say, “We stopped playing ‘Turn XXI’ around ’96 and i wanted to re-record it for this Ep. It’s one of my top five favorite Ignite songs of all time, so I was really excited at the prospect of reinventing the song a little bit, and showing it to our fans. We will definitely be playing it live once we have shows again.”
Rasmussen also explained, “A lot of work went in to the new album. We started writing at the beginning of 2020 and wrote around 40 songs. When the stronger songs were making themselves apparent, we started chopping the list down. Then when we started working with our producer, Cameron Webb, and we made it down to the number of tracks we have today. We put together a calendar when we started writing and said, ‘These are our goals… we want a singer by this date… this many songs by this date… enter the studio by this date… and we really stuck to the calendar and sticking to those deadlines made it real and helped us with our goals for this album.”
This new album will be on the same label as the last two releases, Century Media. Rasmussen said, “We will continue to work with them here in the US and in Berlin. We know the whole team of people there by now and they’re all people we trust; they’re fans of the band and want to see us succeed. It’s a perfect marriage for Ignite.” This will help ease the minds of Ignite fans knowing that there won’t be too much “new.” Rasmussen also said, “The goal the whole time was keeping the familiarity of Ignite for the fans.”
Ignite today remains at the top of the punk totem pole. Leading the band is Eli Santana, Brett Rassmussen is on bass, Nik Hill is the band’s lead guitarist, Kevin Kilkenny is on rhythm guitar and Craig Anderson is on drums.
Ignite will be releasing four or five show dates for the remainder of 2021, but we do know now that they are playing the mega super punk show that everyone has been waiting for, Punk in the Park on Saturday, November 6th and Sunday the 7th. Ignite is playing the Sunday show, but both days have an absolutely insane lineup that includes Pennywise, The Vandals, Lagwagon, NOFX, Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies, TSOL, Strung Out, and so much more!
Sometimes when a band comes along and says, “Hey, check us out, we have a new lead singer and a new album,” fans are reluctant to take the plunge and give it a chance. In the wise words of some comfy shoes, “Just Do It.” Really, you will be so happy you did. Ignite is an incredible band that deserves everyone’s attention. If you are already a fan, you know what we are talking about. Once you start listening to Ignite, the second half of your life begins.